Mark Buntain Redux

Mark Buntain is a man known for his work in missions around the world. He is especially known for his work in Calcutta, India. Mark attributes his deep love for people the people of Calcutta through the hardships and temptations he has to face. His intense compassion has been encapsulated in Douglas Wead’s The Compassionate Touch.

“When the church has more than a thousand members, operates a school and drug rehabilitation centers, feeds thousands of people and maintains a small hospital, it is an impossible job.”[1] This is just a small portion of what Buntain accomplished in his lifetime. More amazing than Mark’s work is his love for the people of India. Buntain would often grow teary-eyed when he spoke of them, but this was not always the case. Once when Mark was asked hold revival meeting in Asia he felt God call him to India. Mark’s reply was one of candor. “No, Lord. No, he began to pray fervently, anywhere but India.”[2] Eventually Mark accepted the call to India, words do not express the difficulty he faced on the road to become the man of God he became.

Mark was born into a Christian home of a Methodist pastor. Pastor Dan Buntain and Kathleen raised their children to hunger after the things of God. Mark recalled how the family would take their Bibles off the shelf made specifically for the Bibles twice a day. Mark’s siblings, Alice and Fulton also pursued ministry, and had at various times been intricate parts in the ministry to Calcutta. Mark’s father had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that caused him to eventually become the Director of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. (Assemblies of God) As a result of his father’s intense relationship with Christ, Mark remembers seeing his father preach and wanting to emulate him.

Mark married Huldah Monroe, a daughter of missionaries to Japan. He remembered just how quickly he fell in love with Huldah. When Mark tried to talk to his father about, Mark felt like his father was trying to dissuade him from marring Huldah. However, his father secretly knew the Monroe family and he just wanted to make sure that Mark was sure he wanted to marry Huldah for himself and not for his father. Huldah, worked as hard as Mark did. Mark said that Huldah “could run General Motors.”[3] Her organizational skills helped run the “Mission of Mercy” association that employed over 500 Indians and touched countless tens of thousands of other Indians. Mark and Huldah eventually had a daughter named Bonnie. She had a slight rebellious streak, but now realizes how much she loved her father.

Buntain cultivated sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that is awe-inspiring. He describes countless times were he would walk out in faith because he did not want to grieve the Holy Spirit so he walked out in faith. On the subject of faith, Mark delineated how God tested him in the times when he was sick, Marked prayed and God healed him. Mark said that often felt as if he was a prime target of Satan. In fact when Mark was on his way to India for the first time, his mother send him a telegram, telling Mark that his father had cancer. Mark flew all the way back only to see his father pass away. Satan used this to put doubt in Mark’s mind as to if his call to India was authentic.

Throughout the story of Mark Buntain is his insurmountable passion to meet the needs of the people of Calcutta. Because of his obedience, Christ has touched Mark’s ministry immensely. Mark pastored a church of over 2,500 members. This church has preaching in six languages a Sunday. It was the first major Christian church to be erected in India in over one hundred years. Furthermore, He fed seven thousand children a day and had an international radio broadcast, projecting the message of the gospel through Asia.[4]

There are countless stories of prostitutes, the blind, the starving, and the homeless literally tens of thousands Mark Buntain impacted for Christ.[5] His gift of service to the body of his Christ has shown his incredible maturity in his relationship with Christ. This spiritual gift is clearly something to admire, hope, and seek after.

[1] Douglas Wead, The Compassionate Touch (Carol Stream, Ill.: Creation House, 1977), 143.

[2] Ron Hembree, Mark (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1979), 28.

[3] Hembree, Mark, 211.

[4] Hembree, Mark, 21.

[5] Wead, The Compassionate, 163.